Healthcare Update — 11-12-2012

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What does President Obama’s victory mean for your future prospects of health care? Here’s one doctor’s opinion: Rising insurance premiums, restricted choices for patients, more visits to nurse practitioners or physician assistants, doctors cherry-picking healthy patients for their practice, extra taxes to fund mandates, fewer employment opportunities so that employers can avoid the ACA mandates, decreased emphasis on medical innovation, rising prices, decreased availability of care.
Good thing that everyone is going to have “insurance” now.

Georgia’s Newton Medical Center becomes one of the latest hospitals to require payment in advance for non-emergency treatment in the emergency department. Uninsured patients must pay $150 and insured patients must pay their co-pay (or their entire deductible) before receiving care.

Think those crotch shots are funny? They happen almost 16,000 times per year according to one study.

Pregnancy tests in males are no longer considered an “unnecessary” test. Man jokingly reports on Reddit that friend urinated on leftover pregnancy test in his medicine cabinet after breaking up with his girlfriend. To the man’s surprise, it was positive. After being posted to Reddit, several readers recommended that he go to be checked for testicular cancer. After seeing the doctor, the patient did indeed have a small tumor in his testicle.
Given that the entire case is anonymous and based upon the accounts of a “friend,” we can’t judge the veracity of the story, but since pregnancy testing in men “could” lead to the discovery of cancer, pregnancy tests in men are no longer unnecessary, right?
Now the government can start paying for pregnancy tests as a screening test for testicular cancer in males.

You can see any doctor that you want … if you can find a doctor still taking patients … who isn’t going to retire … and who accepts your “insurance.”
From another article linked in the one above, 65% of doctors say that government involvement is most to blame for the current state of affairs in medicine, 49% will stop accepting Medicaid patients (many already do refuse), and 74% will stop accepting Medicare patients or will leave Medicare completely. Another linked article has data from the AMA suggesting that 60% of physicians over age 50 will leave practice within 3 years.
Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit

More than one in five Americans enrolled in Medicaid in 2011. Look for that number to increase sharply once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

Meth – it does a body good … well maybe a little. Forget about the bad skin, the meth mouth, the hallucinations, and all the other bad things. Meth inhibits the influenza virus.
Next time you hear someone brag about not needing the flu shot because they never get influenza … now you know why.

I’m not sure how I would manage this patient. Illinois man brought to the emergency department with hand still stuck in a meat grinder. Unfortunately, the victim will probably lose his fingers.
I’m not sure that I would have put an article for the “Best Burgers in Chicago” next to this story, though.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, speaking at US Chamber of Commerce’s Legal Reform Summit in Washington, notes that frivolous lawsuits divert resources from critical services such as education, police, fire, (and health care). In one case a man was awarded $70 million after tripping in a pothole and becoming paralyzed … while fleeing from police after committing a crime. Giuliani also noted that “”We’re losing a lot of our best doctors to other states who have now passed tort reform.”
Additional coverage at

“The lack of emergency room resources at the Grey Nuns Hospital resulted in a [six hour]wait …” which later dissuaded a postoperative patient from returning to the emergency department a second time for worsening pain, wrote a judge in an Edmonton area fatality inquiry. By the time patient did return, he was unresponsive and later died from peritonitis. “Had emergency treatment been received earlier he may well have survived.”
Tough to argue with the conclusion, but it then presents a moving target as to what is considered “too long” of a wait.

Arresting physicians doesn’t just happen in the US. Nine Italian cardiologists arrested for performing unauthorized experimental treatments on patients.

This doctor is lucky they didn’t throw him in prison. New York doctor appeals $416,000 medical malpractice ruling based on 18 month affair with patient.

Tenet Healthcare – a medical insurance company – reports “strongest third quarter in 10 years.” Now I know why my insurance premiums have quadrupled in that same amount of time.

ProAssurance – a medical malpractice insurance company – reports net income of $60.1 million in the third quarter, up from $43.7 million income the same quarter in 2011.
Now I know why malpractice insurance premiums have increased in the past year.

Oh, GruntDoc has a whole new look to his blog. Stop by and see how you like it.

1 Comment

  1. One of the main reasons Tenet did better was the increase in their outpatient surgery. As part of the healthcare bill their was a provision to decrease reimbursement to stand alone ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). This is despite the fact that a cholecystectomy was half the price at an ASC compared to a hospitals outpatient surgery center. By cutting the reimbursement of the ASCs, many closed or sold out to the hospitals who could then charge and get more. The final result; your cholecystectomy cost just doubled. Tenet makes more money and your insurance costs go way up.

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